Pulling into Raymond, Maine, I passed by the Murch Cemetery. I filed the name in the back of my mind because of its homonym, thinking to myself, “I wonder what the Merch - hats and t-shirts - from Murch looks like?”
Most educators enter the field soon after college or graduate school. They cut their teeth as young teachers, learning to manage classrooms, teams, and dorms, to gain expertise through experience as only teaching can provide. Rarely does a teacher decide to enter the profession at the age of 62. Even less often (perhaps never?), does the former Chair of the Board of Trustees decide he wants to start a new career teaching and coaching at the age of 62, but such was John Pendleton’s approach to life: always learning, always growing, always seeking to make an impact.
Two and a half weeks ago, Ocean Classroom 2022 gathered on the docks of Mystic Harbor in Connecticut, ready to set sail for a term at sea. A last minute repair to the Harvey Gamage delayed their actual departure, allowing the student crew to spend a week aboard the tall ship Joseph Conrad before transferring up the coast to the Oliver Hazard Perry, a historic square rigged tall ship out of Newport, Rhode Island. As repairs continue aboard Gamage, Ocean Classroom continues to learn hard, valuable lessons in patience and persistence as they continue their marine biology, literature, and navigation studies at Camp Wohelo on Sebago Lake, Maine.
Over the last two weeks, Proctor student leaders Grace ‘23 and Maks ‘23 sat down with Karin Clough, Megan Hardie, and me to chart a road map for their tenure as School Leaders. From the get go, both students brought the most important aspect of their personalities to our meeting and to the Proctor mindset.
Any given day at Proctor is filled with a thousand interactions: teachers, friends, dorm parents, roommates, parents, coaches, teammates, advisors, dining staff, housekeepers in dorms. It is these varied conversations, and the energy they generate, that make up the many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is our life at Proctor.
Proctor en Segovia Fall 2022 program participants have completed their first full week of living and learning abroad in Segovia, Spain. As they acclimate to new classes and life with a Spanish host family, students learn to suspend judgment and through observation and experience. They also build new connections with each other, their teachers, and their host family, often over a shared meal. In this post, students write about their first twenty-four hours in Spain, communication in a foreign language, and food and cultural differences.
The start of each school year rapidly shifts from a universal experience (Wilderness Orientation) to a highly individualized one (classes, afternoon activities, advisories, dorms) for students. We are three days into the academic schedule, and within each area of life, students are starting to figure out a rhythm to the school year.
When we truly commit to something, we deeply invest ourselves in it. We see a greater purpose in our work, in our connections, in the lifting of each other up. We see an application of our mission, not just a lofty statement that supposedly guides us. Through little, daily actions, we show others what it means to be a part of a community, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
In the spring of 2012, Josh Norris and Alan McIntyre's Project Period challenged students to calculate the potential solar production possible on rooftops around campus. The assignment eventually morphed into a larger scale project for a handful of students that would lay the groundwork for Proctor’s first solar array installed on the Wilkins Meeting House in December of 2012. Over the past decade, Proctor has installed eleven solar arrays on campus with a twelfth planned installation in the spring of 2023.
On Wilderness Orientation, you never know what you might encounter and what you probably will need to get yourself through. A mountain of sand and gravel awaited our group as we entered the Willey Station Road parking lot off of Route 302, which was under repair. We retrieved all of our gear from the bus that then had to back down the trailhead road. Stuffed to the gills, we put on our heavy packs, adjusting straps and awaiting our turn in line to make the heavy climb up the trail on a very busy Labor Day Weekend.
From the earliest moments of parenthood, we learn that life will be filled with contradictions of independence. We simultaneously want them to stay little forever, and we want to never change another diaper. We want to protect our children, and want them to see the world. Competing emotions weave themselves together into an irreplicable sort of love that helps us find a place like Proctor where our children will spread their wings and find themselves, even though we know saying goodbye is so, so hard.
As I write this blog entry, our students and faculty are entering their final days before school begins, thinking about the year to come and the possibilities of our future together at Proctor. Many of us, including myself, are preparing to head back to school by going on Wilderness Orientation with those brand new to the school.
While it was ninety degrees and sunny in Andover, New Hampshire yesterday, the ski season never truly stops for Proctors USS/FIS ski program. Over the past two weeks, twenty-three athletes and four coaches traveled to Saas Fee, Switzerland for an intensive training and team bonding experience, all while immersing themselves in European culture.